'Bombay Velvet' Review: A pretty film with great performances

'Bombay Velvet' Review: A pretty film with great performances

Sonia Chopra

Friday 15 May 2015

Movie Title

Bombay Velvet

Director

Anurag Kashyap

Star Cast

Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Karan Johar, Satyadeep Mishra, Kay Kay Menon

This is one film you wanted to wholeheartedly recommend. The filmis technically marvelous with the painstakingly detailed productiondesign, sizzling chemistry between the lead pair, and impressiveperformances. 'Bombay Velvet' starts off well, even splendidly, onlyto get progressively more convoluted.

Inspired by Gyan Prakash’s book Mumbai Fables, the filmtrails the life of street ruffian/fighter Johnny Balraj (RanbirKapoor). Ambitious and aggressive, Johnny is in a hurry to become a"big shot".

He falls in love (at first sight, of course) with a jazz singerRosie Nornonha (Anushka Sharma). Johnny's character, often borderingon the edge of sanity, is not that easy to warm up to. He's aquestionable lover and human-being, and you loathe him while alsosympathizing with his circumstances.

Meanwhile, media mogul (Karan Johar) smells Johnny's desperationand sets out to exploit his ambitious streak. He takes Johnny underhis wing, training him to do his dirty work. It's an interestingequation between the two, the dynamics of which keep changing.

Then in the backdrop of vintage Bombay, a world of mills, jazzsingers and missing negatives, starts a tale of deception, betrayal,ambition and greed.

Apart from the lack of depth in the portrayal of storydevelopments, one of the other reasons for the film's downward spiraltowards the second half is its self-seriousness. Yes, the story isgrim, but you yearn for some dark humour relief or even a cutting-edgeremark that could make you smirk.

Anurag Kashyap has proven to be one of the most interestingstorytellers of our times and you see those flashes of genius.However, it is snowed under a lack of consistent pace, often jarringand simplistic dialogue, and cliched improbable developments (like theheroine held hostage and waiting for rescue).

The film leaves several questions unanswered. The reasons forKhambata's sly nurturing of Johnny isn't exactly convincing. The goryfinale, where you wish the film was a tad more restrained, doesn'tmove you the way it was intended.

The film is Kashyap's ode to Bombay of that era, and also aromanticized nod to gangster films of old Bollywood and even Hollywoodclassics. One wishes the rest of the film was as clever as theintermittent snatches.

However, you marvel at the spell-binding atmospherics, while takingin Amit Trivedi's superb score.

The performances are laudable. Ranbir Kapoor is superb as theambitious Johnny who is as ruthless as he is vulnerable. The onlycomplaint being the street language which sounds a bit affected attimes.

Anushka Sharma is wonderful as the jazz singer who comes into herown, and looks immaculate. The film focuses on the romance, andRanbir-Anushka's crackling chemistry keeps us hooked to their story.Karan Johar, who makes his acting debut with the film, proves to bequite a packet of surprise with his interesting rendering of Khambata.Satyadeep Mishra is excellent as Johnny's friend, while Kay Kay Menonmakes an impact despite a limited screen time.

If you can forgive the film's shortcomings, this period crimedrama is worth a watch for its visual splendor and masterfulperformances.

Rating: Three Stars